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'Completely unreasonable to attempt to play this fixture' - Needham Market withdraw from the FA Trophy

17 December, 2018 - 11:30
The wet and depressing scene at Weymouth FC's Bob Lucas Stadium, 90 minutes before the sceduled kick-off against Needham Market on Saturday. Picture: CARL MARSTON

The wet and depressing scene at Weymouth FC's Bob Lucas Stadium, 90 minutes before the sceduled kick-off against Needham Market on Saturday. Picture: CARL MARSTON

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Needham Market have withdrawn from the FA Trophy after their request to move the date of their re-arranged first round tie at Weymouth was rejected by the FA.

Groundstaff and roller are at the ready, but the standing water by the touchline is clear evidence of why Saturday's FA Trophy tie at Weymouth was postponed. Picture: CARL MARSTONGroundstaff and roller are at the ready, but the standing water by the touchline is clear evidence of why Saturday's FA Trophy tie at Weymouth was postponed. Picture: CARL MARSTON

The Suffolk side made the long trip to Weymouth on Saturday, only for the match to be postponed at the last minute due to a waterlogged pitch.

The tie was duly re-arranged for tomorrow night but the Marketmen argued that it was unreasonable to expect them to make the trip on a week day and asked for it to be moved to Saturday, or the following Saturday (December 29).

That request was rejected though, so the Suffolk club withdrew from the competition this morning. In a statement on the club website, the club said they have ‘been forced to withdraw’ from the trophy.

It added: “We consider that it is completely unreasonable to attempt to play this fixture on Tuesday 18th December.

“Our players and staff had to take a half day’s leave from their employment on Friday 14th December to travel down to Weymouth. For us to request that our players and staff take a further one and a half or two days leave on Tuesday and Wednesday (18th /19th December) in the week preceding Xmas is considered unfair on them and their employers.

“Having experienced the travelling time on Friday/Saturday (14th/15th) which resulted in a journey slightly in excess of seven hours each way, it would be necessary to leave Needham Market at 11am on Tuesday 18th and arrive back at the club at approximately 05.30 am on the morning of Wednesday 19th.

“Factor in that a number of our players reside in north Norfolk, this would result in additional travelling in excess of one hour for those players, which makes it apparent that two days holiday would be required for them.

“In addition, and after looking at the weather forecast for the south coast area, it is extremely likely that the match will, once again, be postponed.”

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